By Marcus Leach
A report into finances in football by Deloitte has shown that Premier League clubs spend 68% of their income on players' wages - the highest the figure has ever been.
Of the leading clubs in England Chelsea topped the wage bill, as they have done for the last nine years, splashing out a staggering £174 million on squad wages.
Manchester City more than doubled their fierce on-field rivals Manchester United, spending 107% of its revenue on pay, compared to United's 46%.
"This new high is worrying, something Uefa's financial fair play rules should address," said Deloitte's Dan Jones.
The report shows that, for the first time ever, Premier League revenues exceeded £2 billion after a 2% rise in the 2009/20 season.
Once again the gulf not just in class, but financial clout, has been exposed in the Premier League. The leading clubs make so much in revenue they can afford to spend vast amounts on wages, whilst the clubs at the other end of the table are forced to show great restraint with their spending.
"The problem is with the middle tier of clubs, those who are neither chasing a Uefa place or facing relegation," said Mr Jones.
"And of course Manchester City and Chelsea are going to need to get wages under control for the financial fair play rules."
Premier League Wage Bills for 2009/10 season
1. Chelsea - £174m
2. Manchester City - £133m
3. Manchester United - £132m
4. Liverpool - £121m
5. Arsenal - £111m
In terms of Europe the leading five leagues - Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France) - collective revenues reached £7.5 billion for the 2009/10 season.
However, the picture is not so pretty for the lower leagues in England, with total debt from the four other divisions amounting to more than the profits shown in the Premier League.
Yet despite the losses across the board in English football no club has gone out of business since 1992, when Maidstone folded.
"Despite the challenges, English football has never been so popular," says Mr Jones.
"Football clubs elsewhere in the world would no doubt be glad to trade their position for those of similar-sized English clubs, while other domestic sports look at football enviously."